Sunday, August 31, 2008

Shigeo Koike - Airplane Model Box Art

Koike's work is terrific. Some of his pieces tone the background down, but that's the nature of selling a model, people aren't looking at the background - This piece is just breath taking. He incorporates the battle with nature as well as the battle with the enemy. Check out more of Shigeo Koike's Art here. The site is in Japanese, but I believe there is an English version mirror, but I can't vouch... I clicked, dug and rolled.

I'm going to be pushing my pulp finish towards a few of the treatments found in Koike's art, but my major issue is including the vibrant pulp colors into the piece, where his work is much more natural. I haven't seen the issue of Illustration Magazine, which covered American Model Box art, but this issue, Number 22 has the art of Blakeslee and some of his terrific Air Pulp cover art.

Friday, August 29, 2008

it's a beautiful world: compare and contrast

i love devo:

rage against the machine... pussies it up. booo......

back to the 80s: looking for the perfect piece of cardboard for break dancing... hendrix in a coffin:

there is something in the detached persona that DEVO portrayed that makes their cynical statements that much more pointed. They are able to critique society as outsiders, even though they were wildly popular on college campuses and early mtv. Mark Mothersbaugh still works in music, scoring cartoons like Rug Rats, Powerpuff Girls, etc... I have his "Go Monkey Go" song about Mojo Jojo, evil chimp arch-enemy of the PPGs on my ipod,

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Drying in the Sun and More Macro

Frames drying in the sun on Sunday afternoon... My darlin' daughter was hard at work, creating a walking stick for a friends birthday present. - it turned out very nice. The frames have a faux metal anodized aluminum or steel look to the field areas. i have been doing this style of framing since 2000. it works well in a gallery situation, harmonizing the pieces on the wall even if the subject matter is diverse.
While finishes were drying, I busted out the macro lens and shot a bagworm making for the shelter of the house siding. The praying mantis was on my Ghanaian talking drum in the studio. No idea how he got there, but this was when i took it out of doors to let him go. He was very interested in the camera lens, swiping at it with his meat-hooks.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Di Fate Lecture Reaction Paper - you judge...

I truncated this web version... it has the meat of the subject, but i still believe it comes up short, since i had to draw some conclusions from inference, not stated fact. Here it is, and you be the judge. This is the second of two papers, and perhaps the most difficult to write.

mfa student profile: Anthony Accardo

Illustrator Anthony Accardo in Hartfort CD, July 2008
Anthony brings a strong classical ideal and training to the group, from his sketches in a Non-Repro blue pencil, to the exquisitely rendered finishes. Anthony is a professor in the NYC college system, while also illustrating books in the US as in Europe. He's a quick wit, with measured commentary. He deals his criticism in doses, with the skills of a life-long teacher. His work is posted here: Anthony Accardo. I truly look forward to his finishes in the upcoming assignment... really wondering what a classical Pulp will look like...

mfa student profile: Val Paul Taylor

Val Paul Taylor in Hartford CT, July 2008
Val bring a long history of design, consultation to the discussions and critique. His illustration career has led him over the mountain peaks in Alaska, as well as into the history books of the library down the street. Val has the unique ability to see the industry from both sides of the table, as provider and buyer. He is able to cut to chase in a business-like manner that has little to do with the intent of the piece, but rather the resulting finish. He's gonna shake some of these "kids" up with his commentary, but they will end up with something to think about.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Andy Warthog

zdepski's new series of animal artists
I got 25 postcards in the mail on the way in this morning. I'm not very happy with the result from PSprint, the upper image by David Heatwole has some nasty Morre pattern... I didn't see it in his original file and it's not that noticeable, but it bugs me...
I started a new series of illustrations... may end up as a book, may end up as a pile of poo... It's a continuation on Vincent Van Toad and the Animal/Artist series. Andy Warthog is next. Then, I guess, Jackson Pollock, then Wilhem RaKoonig... it grows like a virus of puns.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Framing - The Chore of the Cheap

framing like a madman. every day after work i schlep into the studio to make some sort of forward progress on getting my show ready. the cards are printed, in my hands, but i doubt i have enough spare time to address and mail them. gonna try.

the main body of the frames are built, only 10 this time. I will have 35+ framed pieces for the two man show, and 5 pieces going to a larger group show the week after. I need to get to the home depot for some aspen. i use it with 45 degree champhers on each side, and edgeband the frames. it's another milling process with my router. i screw a piece of melamine to the base, flip it over and clamp it to my tablesaw upsidedown. i then use it like a ghetto router table. I need to get to the studio - i need these finished, except for setting each painting, mounting hardware, brown paper dust backers by tonight. burning time writing...

1:24pm - didn't got to the "Po", ended up at lowes. Didn't buy aspen, got poplar... what else did i get wrong? Possibly the overall price of the frames per unit. i dropped about a hundred bucks on poplar, but after milling all of the edges as stated above, i'm ending with 432 linial feet of edging... far more than I need for the current framing job. even so, it's still 25 cents a foot... not that expensive.

7:40pm - Ten frames, all edgebanded, sitting in the studio with their painting dry fit inside. I set AK Baby's image into it's frame, mainly due to size, both of the painting and the frame - unwieldy as individuals, manageable as a group. No time to address postcards for the show... burned out from standing on concrete for two days straight... brutal to the lower back.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


In honor of the upcoming election, I thought it might be a good idea to brush up on my elephants and donkeys. the vampire idea will be a good one for halloween. I also liked the idea of showing a bellybutton on the bigger elephant pic... i don't know what the bandage means... i just did it...

Chad Grohman... punching me in the throat

Chad Grohman, Illustrator
Effen Chad... Kicking my ass... again! dead on the money color schemes, props and angles... hell of an illustrator!

Junkies: Shake n Bake

zdepski's drawing, Shake n Bake Meth cooker

Meth Text - Boney's Girlfriend is checking if it's done baking...
There is a method of cooking meth that involves dumping the chemical components into 2 liter bottles and agitating the mixture. Mr. MethTremblesBoney has his bottle of sunshine in an old Mountain Dew bottle, appropriately named, since it's White Trash Coke.

Girlfriend is texting the cooker to see if this batch is ready... she needs to silence the screaming holes in her teeth.

(Looks like Meth Heads from across this great land are searching hard for directions on how to make this crap... especially since they hit this blog with the Shake n Bake search string ...look in the mirror: HERE)

As I set this drawing down, I noticed the similarities with Egon Schiele in these... i think both similarities are due to the flattened forms. i have a strong affinity to the work of George Grosz, which is generally cartoon-like and flat. Even when I want to draw with form and mass, i have to break the tendency to go to the symbolic and flat. just the nature of the beast...

Oh... I've been avoiding my paper on Vin Di Fate. I nearly have it complete, but I have to try to separate out the lectures he gave on the History of Illustration, from the personal lecture he gave on his influences and those things that drive his work. My notes are pretty thorough, but I'm afraid I'm making conclusions about his work that he never made. This is totally confusing... I think there was a total of 8 lectures, if not more - all lot of anecdotal commentary, on top of historic fact... where does one factual lecture end, and personal commentary begin? I have to sort this out...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

National Museum of American Illustration - RI

National Museum of American Illustration I didn't know it was up there... I was in CT, a short hop over to RI. Next time... next time. Their site could stand to lose the American flags rippling in the wind... very 1993- but hey, they won the Golden Web award... 1999 through 2004... what ever that is.

smarmy bastard...

Junkies: Meth-Mouth

zdepskis drawing, meth mouth - junkie series
zdepskis dog, tilly under the coffee table
zdepskis daughter zhana watching Totoro in an easy chair
Junkies continue to haunt my work. Watched a piece on meth addiction last night after another viewing of My Neighbor Totoro with my kiddies. Quite the transition. Always keeping the sketchbook close, so i did a pic of the pup Tilly and under the table, looking up, Zhana watching the tube in mom's comfy chair, and my personal favorite: Meth Mouth. I've dealt with meth heads here and there... strange bunch being steered by the drug. I took the idea of exhaling smoke from the pulp girl on the docks and brought it to the junkie with her brown baked-bean teeth wafting smoke through their gaps, over the swollen gums...

mmmmmmm baby, ready to turn a trick for some crank...

paint it or move on... paint or move on.... i don't know. might just ditch the sales idea and push them into a full-blown junkie journal.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Paintin' n Framin', Paintin' n Framin'

bustin my hump... and i'm feeling it this morning. huffing around 4x8 sheets of 3/4 Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF): ripping, routing and joining to make frames... again. I have a show due to the gallery in a couple of short weeks. I've already pulled 30+ framed pieces, all packed and ready to roll, but the latest works, and most controversial are unframed and whining to go, too. Oversize pieces mean oversize frames. i've got three over 4' in width, which is always a challenge to frame, hang and transport. doing the math, i spent 25 bucks on MDF and cull cart tongue and groove pine, which after milling and waste, equals 280 lineal feet of usable frame stock. so that's a long 10 cents a foot for frame stock, with my average piece using 6-8 feet of stock, plus sandpaper, paint, finish and edging... then add hangers and wire, and i still come out less than 10 bucks a frame... an i mean NICE frames. no skimping on the quality, biscuits in all corners, reinforcing of joints on oversize pieces. I often cannibalize my older pieces of their frames to get the new ones up for shows. this is an advantage to working in standard sizes and ratios.

SO, what exactly DID i do this weekend? I kept the brush moving on Saturday, which saw a finalization on my piece, Junkie: Every one has a Story, and knocking some dark lines into the AK-Baby piece prior to framing.

Work is still progressing on Miss America. I'm not fully pleased with it's direction, but it's headed somewhere.

The Lviv pieces, including finalizing Pogrom. I hate to dwell on this subject, but the horrors of Lviv Ukraine, 1942 must be spoken to.
Wrapping up the weekend was a tighter sketch of a pulp idea down on the docks. No light study, but the pencil lines give the idea of the form of the piece. Need to get the background more dynamic, and i still want to place an old yard truck in the background.
To top off my weekend fun, I got my FASFA info in motion and called Hartford to let them know it's coming across their desk soon. I need to get it together prior to NYC in Nov.

Friday, August 15, 2008

down on the wharf

still working on my pulp research. the docks are a separate direction i may go. diggin the 60s hats. steam ship passenger ticket counter in australia. been researching docks, shipping and cargo derricks from the 30s and 40s. turn up some neat-o stuff... such as this.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

mfa student profile: B.J.Becker

B.J. has a broad background in illustration, teaching and various creative efforts. His work has a strong graphic quality, and is as easily tied to the Secessionists of 1910 with the paintings of Edward Hopper. He crafts his illustrations with graphic strength but allows the paint and color to keep the ordered structures of the line organic. B.J.'s work is not hemmed in by the visual world, but also flows into writing fiction. He's a great one in the critique, with an angle or observation that is as interesting to contemplate, as to hear it's eloquent delivery. I don't believe he has his work accessible to the general public, but you can ask nicely here:

mfa student profile: Jime Grabowski

Jime walks a line of decorative surface awareness tied with narrative representation. Her lyrical line work has the ability to treat the entire piece with a harmonizing effect both in her color work as her black and white. She comes to the program with a well established and strong style sense, but the evidence is there that she is going to stretch out and push her work into new directions. I really look forward to her finishes from our initial assignments. The books look fantastic, an I'm really curious about her pulp project. Here is Jime's work and blog

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Zdepski's selfportrait on the end of his bed
zdepski as frog alien type
did a couple of life sketches the other night. one in my skivvies on the end of the bed, the other was a shoulders and head portrait that i disliked so much that i twisted it into a toady/alien character with warty growths and timbrel ears. such sad boo-boo eyes too. i obviously have self-image issues.
zdepski sketches at the hispanic youth symposiumthis other pic is from the reception at the Hispanic Youth Symposium. Movers and shakers, sipping mineral water. The dude in the lab coat had twin certifications as an MD and lawyer. His partner there is a charcoal suited businessman... probably banking.

mfa student profile: Q Cassetti

Q keeps busy with a fully capable graphic design studio, employing two full time besides herself while pursuing her MFA at Hartford. She has a strong black & white sense, lending to powerfully graphic pieces. Her sketchbook is overflowing with penwork, vinettes and beautifully scripted explanations to herself - the sketchbook pages work as finished pieces, in my opinion. Q's hard work has been noticed by the industry recently, with her acceptance to the major competitions in both illustration and design. I have been overwhelmed by her humility and helpful nature. Her site, has a wide variety of work, and her blog is updated quite often, if not daily.

mfa student profile: Chad Grohman

Chad has a dynamic understanding of natural forms, movement and line. He is able to harness these into a clean, graphically sophisticated delivery. His work stems the gambit from logos through editorial. His book projects will soon be going to color, so check his blog and website for more. I had a peek at the pulp color sketch, which promises to be a stunner. He practices martial arts, and surprisingly isn't looking for the opportunity to punch you in the throat.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Frank Frazetta Museum Virtual Tour

I gotta go... off to PA.
FF Museum

Welcome Home!

SUToday cover detail featuring my daughter as the model
My darlin' daughter has returned from her trips around the country... CA, VA, PA n VA - I believe a trip to NJ was tossed in there somewhere. She left Dulles International in June, and just returned yesterday, bringing a bunch of laughter and love into the house again. She had a blast seeing her old friends, cousins, aunts and uncles. We're overjoyed to have her home... missed terribly. She start's marching band this week, so she gets thrown into the fray. I don't believe they march in suits, so it's not like the football kids with pads and helmets. Still, it's VA and August. stay hydrated. Her specialty is flag... she's griping about the old principal's no guns policy that even took the fake rifles from her squad. With the new principal in place, they hope that rule will be revoked. Ah... welcome to Virginia.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hispanic Youth Symposium - George Mason University

I participated in the Hispanic Youth Symposium's Art Competition for the second year, and third college campus event last night. It was pretty cool. Met 23 bright and artistic kids, all in the 10th or 11th grades, and trying to figure out what they're going to do with their lives. Kids had interests in photography, animation, painting, drawing, graphic design and sculpture. Many kids had touching stories to tell - powerful stories of struggle and hope. I really gain a lot of respect for them, their families and the community that places so many hopes and pressures upon their young shoulders. God Bless Them All. Judges, Sarah??? the photographer from Philadelphia on the left, Patricio Montiel, the architect in Fairfax County VA, Jenny Davis, realistic watercolorist and Christine Cardellino, painter, both from the Torpedo Factory Art Center and myself (shooting the photo) all met, talked and encouraged between 6 and 10:30, when judging ended and we were chased out by the maintenance crew.
Christopher Hoppe, writer and artist is again the chair of the art competition, with the George Mason University event rounding out the 7th and final show for the year - both coasts seven cities. over a thousand kids plus a thousand volunteers and mentors. Great job!

As mentioned... chased out by 10:30, 75 miles to drive home - buying a cruddy hamburger and fries on the ride... in bed by 11:40.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Newspaper Ad - Harmonic Dissonance

Crappy title, but it speaks well to our two styles. David Heatwole is more about calm, meditation... I'm about being in your face and jerking you around. it should be an interesting show. The space is huge, and the crowd from the last show was terrific. Please put the opening on your calendar. September 6th, 7-10 pm. Ok?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Harmonic Dissonance - Art Show

Zdepski and Heatwole art show postcard at the Blue Elephant Art Center in Frederick MD
Working up the postcard for the show with David Heatwole and me at the Blue Elephant in Fredericksburg MD during the first two weeks of September. I'll be rolling out some of my latest pieces from my Lviv and Junkie series. There will also be some of my favorite larger pieces from back in the old country... NJ.

King of the Hill - Goat-style

Zdepski's painting of two goats playing king of the hill, acrylic on d' arches
two youngsters rough-housing on the rolled bales. the foreground nannie is the less aggressive, while her big brother thinks he owns the place. she bonked him pretty good and sent him into the grass a few times. don't underestimate a low center of gravity. this is acrylic on d'arches 90lb laid on a panel. it's part of a process i'm working on, which gives me the smooth surface i need for detail while adding the texture of the gesso to the surface. i'm entering this in the burwell-morgan show, along with the single goat and red pig.

The color comp on the Airplane Hottie pulp is underway. I worked into it with acrylics last night, but believe i will push into oils to get the vibrancy and depth. Tomorrow is the Hispanic Youth Symposium, so I can't paint... may have to wait until Friday.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dogfightin' Hotties

Zdepski's pencil sketch of a Pulp-style Dogfight
I've always liked airplanes from the early 1930s through mid-40s. To keep with the Air Pulp theme, I have the foreground airplane being flown by a cutie with a six-shooter, firing at an unseen foe. This is the pencil comp from my sketchbook of the main items. The grayscale of the sky has been mocked up in a separate digital document. I plan on pushing this into the bright reds, yellow, flames, smoke... gear oil... etc.

Pulp Project - Abu Gomer

Zdepski Illustration - Abu Gomer Pulp Cover Sketch
just knocking this about. have a pile of ideas, some more period. this is just goofy. been playing with this idea for a long while, and the pulp cover may be a good format. Would elevate it to a horror story or crime novel cover... pretty much what it is.

"Freedom boarding" - remember "Freedom Fries"?

Animal Farm - Two for the Mill

I did a couple of paintings this weekend for the Art at the Mill show at the Burwell-Morgan Mill in Millwood, Va. This is my usual Spring-Autumn effort. They accept up to 5 pieces from each artist, so I try to get as many in as I can. The audience is conservative, although I have moved a couple of illustrations through there in the past. The goat and little red pig are both from my trip to my cousin's farm in the hills of southern VA. My son recognized the goat as the one that hooked his shirt and butted him around... sore subject. The piggy was a regular play buddy in during that weekend. My son looked like he was a member of the hog wallow swim club.